A “B” I Need to See: Les Raisins de la Mort

The Grapes of Death MP

Poster courtesy Horrorpedia.com- GO SUBSCRIBE!


 

I’ve never seen Jean Rollin’s 1978 horror flick Les Raisins de la Mort (The Grapes of Death), but I do vaguely recall discussing the film with a friend a few years back in a conversation about foreign horror movies. I’d forgotten all about it until YouTube user Sleaze-O-Rama posted the trailer below:

(thanks, Sleaze-O-Rama!)

And now, the hunt begins for a DVD as I prefer to borrow or outright own my movies and not stream or steal them. It’s not an urgent “get” at all. But if I see this one in my travels and it’s affordable, I’ll be adding it to the library when I can.

Blu-Ray Review: Spider Baby

Spider Baby Arrow CoverJack Hill’s amusing and mildly disturbing 1964 horror classic Spider Baby finally gets the feature-packed Blu-Ray treatment is deserves courtesy of Arrow Video and MVD and it’s a must for fans of the formerly forgotten flick that became a cult classic. “The maddest story ever told” still holds up today as quite the viewing experience as well as on original little low budget flick that still packs quite a kick in a few places.

The story of the Merrye family’s twisted offspring and their strange caretaker Bruno is, for all the creepy, unsettling antics taking place, quite an emotional tale at heart. Three siblings Virginia (Jill Banner), Elizabeth (Beverly Washburn) and Ralph (Sig Haig) live with Bruno (Lon Chaney Jr.) in a decrepit mansion well off the beaten path with a few other relatives. Thanks to inbreeding among the family, all suffer from a genetic condition that makes them regress mentally into primitive states that make them more than a little dangerous to be around. Bruno does his best to keep his unbalanced charges in line, but after a mailman (Mantan Moreland) is killed and distant relatives arrive to claim the mansion and surrounding property for themselves, things take a turn for the darkly comedic worse. Continue reading

Random Film of the Week(end): Bloody Birthday

Bloody Birthday MP 2If you’ve never had children and are thinking of bearing your own brood, watching a film like 1981’s Bloody Birthday just might put you off the idea for a while. Like forever. This sort of obscure horror flick isn’t anywhere near as gory as many of the more familiar 80’s “B” movies at all. But the overall tone is more than a tiny bit disturbing as the film is more or less an unfiltered version of The Bad Seed without the tacked-on Hollywood ending.

The funny thing is from the opening moments you’d think the film was going to be somewhat supernatural in nature. But it’s not at all (which turns out to be a really good thing). In 1970, three babies are born to three different mothers at the same hospital during a solar eclipse and ten years later, all three end up as evil pre-teen murder machines. Who just so happen to live on the same block or at least within walking distance of each others homes. Yikes. The kids, Debbie (Elizabeth Hoy), Curtis (Billy Jayne), and Steven (Andy Freeman) manage to whittle down the population of Meadowvale, California while remaining undetected because who’d see such innocent little darrrrrrlings as a trio of mini-Manson family members? Well, perhaps Debbie’s dad, who happens to be the town sheriff? Nope. He’s more clueless than a headless Sherlock Holmes. Faster than you can say “There goes the neighborhood!”, well… you know the rest of that one, right?

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The Martian Trailer: Reading Is Fundamental. The Internet is NOT.

While this gorgeous trailer for Ridley Scott’s upcoming film based Andy Weir’s bestselling novel The Martian looks fantastic, it seems that there’s some internet outrage over the trailer spoiling the entire film by looking as if it plays out the entire plot in three minutes. It doesn’t. I haven’t even read the book yet but have talked to two people who have and as they’re they types who don’t go online and babble about what’s not in that trailer, I’m told that there’s a good deal you don’t see. Which makes perfect sense, mind you. Yes, movie trailers tend to be a bit too dumbed down in many cases and yes, there are films where you see pretty much everything you need to well before it hits theaters.

The “problem” with The Martian trailer is all that pent up anger about other film’s spoiler packed teases seems to have spilled over at just the wrong time. The easy way to avoid ANY spoilers to films you may be interested in is not to watch them, period. Of course, if you want NO spoilers at all, don’t even read the book the film is based on and go in cold as Mars after sunset. I bet you’ll enjoy the hell out of that film and want to go buy the book after you leave the theater. Also, stay OFF message boards and other sites where people waste time opining away based on their lack of information, unwillingness to learn any new information and tendency to argue to the death the most ill-informed and idiotic points easily quashed by actual facts. Your sanity will thank you kindly and you’ll be able to go about your day with less stress.

Case closed and you’re welcome.

Random Film of the Week: Invisible Invaders

Invisible Invaders MPSometimes revisiting an old film can reveal a load of new surprises, particularly if it ends up being a possible inspiration for later and better works. While not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, 1959’s Invisible Invaders managed to actually be a lot more thrilling than I recall from seeing it as a kid.

For one thing, it’s both an alien invasion and a zombie flick, melding sci-fi and horror pretty well despite some rather incredulous plot shenanigans. It’s also an unintentional response to Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space (also released in 1959) because it features more or less the same story executed far more effectively. Well, for a low budget flick, that is. Continue reading

Blu-Ray Review: The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Miss Osbourne

MVD7208BR Jekyll_OsbourneWalerian Borowczyk’s The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Miss Osbourne is a straight up shot of arty nightmare fuel that will seep into your pores and haunt you for a while after viewing. The director takes the classic Robert Louis Stevenson tale and like the perverse Jekyll and Hyde here (played here by Udo Kier and Gérard Zalcberg), has his way with the it and creates a pretty stunning and memorable piece of work. This isn’t your garden variety horror flick of the week and nope, it’s not for the kids or easily disturbed at all.

During an engagement party for Jekyll and Fanny Osbourne (Marina Pierro), sexual violence and assorted murders take place over the course of one terrifying evening. Initially, women are targeted but no one is safe from the clutches of Hyde’s perversions. Despite the mansion’s visitors and staff being whittled down every few minutes, none of the well-heeled guests has a clue as to who’s the culprit. As the debauchery continues, Miss Osbourne gets a clue as she’s looking for a hiding spot and spies Jekyll going through his transformation in a can’t take your eyes off the screen scene. Does she flee the mansion and try to find help or at least attempt to escape with her life? Let’s just say Fanny is repulsed on one hand, curiously compelled on the other and the combination makes her want to take a dip into that bathtub full of chemicals. Continue reading

A Few Notes on James Horner (Part One)

(thanks, Cinefix!)
 

While many will remember the late James Horner for his work on Titanic, Avatar, Braveheart and other blockbusters, my own memories of the man’s work go back to his 80’s output when a few of his scores stood out aurally and made me seek out their soundtrack albums. Amusingly enough, I hadn’t realized he’d done the score for Humanoids From The Deep until I re-watched the film for a recent blogathon.

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Society Blu-Ray Review

Society BR-DVD SetWhile I missed out on seeing Brian Yuzna’s Society during it limited run, I’d been hearing quite a lot about this 1989 film over the years while still managing not to see it until a review Blu-Ray popped up in the post. The outrageous “body horror” flick packed with intentionally campy performances, icky practical makeup effects by the legendary Screaming Mad George and a finale for the ages makes for one of those films that will cling to one’s grey matter for a while. Those squeamish to gore or sexual themes will be reaching for something to barf in, but there’s a definite “last gasp” of the 80’s Reagen era excess in the film’s themes and overall tone. Plus there’s just an overall sense of pure insanity that makes the film seem like both the best and worst nightmare you’ll ever have.
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Some Father’s Day Memories (Sort Of…)

(thanks, Star Wars Malaysia!)
 

Sadly, my own daddy-o is no longer with us, so I’m having a quieter day of no celebration or awful hastily bought ties, cheap cologne and overpriced restaurant suppers here. Instead, you get a bit of my oddball humor with a few movie clips of some memorable and not so good dads you may or may not remember.

)thanks, Movieclips!)
 

Before you get the wrong idea, I’ve certainly got fonder memories of my father, folks. I just prefer to keep them to myself. That is all. Back in a bit and I do hope your own Father’s Day was excellent and happier.

(thanks, glows!)
 

Ratchet & Clank PS4: Insomniac’s Got A Killer Game, But…


 

Well, now. I wasn’t at all a fan of the idea of a CG movie featuring these characters so the tagline “The Game Based On The Movie Based On The Game” made me cringe before I finished reading it. Nevertheless, all it took was one look at that trailer and later, the gameplay video below to change my mind. Mostly. Granted, Rainmaker Animation is certainly a talented group of folks and based on that E3 trailer from last year, they’ve certainly captured the spirit of the characters. Interestingly enough, pre-orders for the game are already being taken on a few sites despite not even the developer knowing what the price point will be.


 

That said, the big question is do we really need a movie at all? Insomniac Games is doing its best work on the PS4 to date with this remake/reboot, so there’s no question that will sell like hotcakes next year. But I don’t think the non-interactive movie will be as interesting to some gamers who don’t like sitting on their cans for an hour forty five or whatever NOT holding a controller in their hot little hands. Hell, people complain about cut scenes in games if they run over two minutes long. So having what amounts to an extended advertisement for the new game (and the PS4) may be seen as overkill to a bunch of folks who might skip paying for a ticket in favor of not so legally viewing the film once someone puts it online.

Eh, we’ll see what happens. I’m betting the critics who aren’t into games at all won’t get this much other than to lay praise on Rainmaker’s animation and storytelling. But what do I know? I’m the nut who wants a full on Disruptor remake. For the Vita. Yikes!